Center of the crosshairs: A new focus on daily living
Have you ever looked through a rifle scope?
Have you experienced the drastic change as your eyes adjust from such a wide view of the world to a clear, amplified image of one specific thing that was otherwise lost in the sea of the bigger picture?
As you look closer at the image, you notice two thin lines running perpendicular to each other.
Crosshairs. Sights that help you pick out the smallest of targets in an overwhelming sea of distractions. One moment you could be looking at a huge field – the next zeroing in on and dusting a Ritz cracker at 150 yards away.
Why is this visual important? Let me back up and explain a moment.
I find myself in sort of a pickle. A real conundrum. It’s like two internal ways of life have decided to stage a prize fight, and I need to choose a winner.
In one corner you can find my tendency to observe, process and watch a situation without feeling any need to be in the limelight of the debate.
At work, and in many social situations, I gravitate toward being the quiet guy. I don’t see the value in speaking up early and often – I see great value in scanning the environment, weighing the options, getting everyone’s opinion and then getting involved if it seems appropriate.
The Bible urges this sort of behavior throughout the many lessons in Proverbs. For example, Proverbs 10-19 (NIV) states: “Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.”
Proverbs 17:28 (NIV) suggests: “Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.”
And Proverbs 18:2 (NIV) warns: “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.”
There have been times where I speak out in frustration and wish, after the fact, that I had taken more time to process the situation. Biting my tongue over the years has helped me avoid burning bridges – some of which turned out to be very useful at a later time.
In spite of all that, however, I also keep thinking about the parable of the talents. In a nutshell, the story, told by Jesus during his earthly ministry, involves a wealthy man who needs to leave town. Before he leaves for an unspecified amount of time, he gives out his money (talents in older versions of the Bible) to three servants with the understanding that they responsibly manage the finances.
Two of the three wisely invest the money and are able to provide their master with double his return when he comes back. The third, however, buried his share of the wealth in fear and is scolded by the master for being lazy. This servant is thrown out into the darkness.
While versions such as NIV refer to these amounts of money as “bags of gold,” I personally prefer the older term of talents. It makes the parallel much easier to present day talents that God has given us. Some people are blessed with a talent for art, others with musical abilities. Some are born leaders while others are gifted with excess compassion such as counselors, teachers and social workers.
I’ve been told my talent is writing. I enjoy sharing stories, work at a newspaper as an outdoors columnist (and have more than 150 posts at my other blog: zaktansky.wordpress.com) and have received some very good reviews, awards, etc. While I don’t think as highly of myself, I do take pride in what I write – especially when those words are used to help others.
If writing is truly my God-given talent, than there is a certain obligation to hone that skill and use it for His glory.
Part of the Trinity of God is the Holy Spirit – perhaps the most undervalued face of God in my very humble opinion. The Holy Spirit courses through each of us and helps push us in certain directions. It is the conscience we experience that helps us make the right choices in life (if we choose to listen) and the strong internal feeling that helps us align ourselves better with Him.
Ultimately, it is that internal yearning has been strong in pushing toward taking a more visual, active role in discussions about God and His plan. So many topics — from changes in society, the diminishing clout of the Christian and everyday topics such as drinking alcohol and embracing faith like young child. With these and more topics, the seeds to kick off a blog such as this were planted. There are so many topics facing Christians, so many questions as we experience everyday challenges. But please take note – my wife and I see this as more than a one-sided blog. Our hopes are that it becomes more of an interactive group of believers. A true online community where we encourage each other, tackle some of the big topics of the day and focus on God and His lessons for us.
We are not a pastors or even biblical scholars. We are everyday people blessed with a truly exceptional family. We both notice so many things that are concerning in today’s society and have discussions regularly about some of the more disturbing trends facing believers today. We look forward to sharing some of that in future posts and hopefully they lead to some good, healthy discussions.
Which brings things back to the rifle scope.
Our hope is that this blog functions as sort of a scope. A tool to help look past all the noise, distractions and temptations of the world and to instead zero in on something more important that unfortunately can become lost in the busyness of our everyday lives.
Help us set our sights on God. To line up the crosshairs on His expectations for us and to love up to those important standards.
You see, it is no coincidence that at the center of our scopes is a set of crosshairs – and at the center of those crosshairs is a cross.
What better image to keep in the center of all that we focus on each day?